In the military, superior officers, such as generals and colonels are responsible for control over their units as one goes through its regular routine trying to protect their nation. A different set of laws is in place for the military, but these are to be followed the same way as with the law in normal society. Betrayal of the military can result in justice taken onto the betrayer. This is evident in the movies The Generals Daughter and A Few Good Men. Both of these situations followed the same stance, as both general Joe Campbell and colonel Nathan Jessip forgot about procedural justice and tried to take matters into their own hands, by abusing power given by the military.
Movie Summary (The Generals Daughter)
In Fort MacCallum, Paul Brenner, leaving his house takes a piece of hair and sticks it on the door crack, to notify him of any unwelcome visitors that come to his residence. General Joe Campbell arrives at the military base in a helicopter. Where he then gets escorted to base where he has his retirement party. Paul Brenner starts off as undercover Sergeant White. Sergeant White is on an assignment to arrest freedom fighter Bellings. On his way to an onbase warehouse Brenner gets a flat tire. Stopping to help him out is captain Elizabeth Campbell. After Captain Campbell fixes Brenners tire, he proceeds to go meet with Bellings and finish their exchange. After the exchange between Brenner and Bellings, Bellings finds out that Sergeant White is apart of the criminal investigation team. Bellings arrives at Brenners house with the intent to kill him. But, all falls short when Brenner realizes that hes being attacked, and jumps into the water off the top of his houseboat where he hides in the water. Bellings then spots him and jumps in the water. Brenner starts up a near by motorboat. He then pushes Bellings head into the blade, killing him.
The EOD (Explosive Ordnance Division) team, while practising their drills, come upon a rape and murder victim. Brenner is notified about this immediately and makes his way out to the scene. After Brenner takes a closer look at the body he realizes its Elizabeth Campbells. Sarah Sunhill a rape counsellor, is assigned to help Brenner out on this case. Next, the two of them go to visit General Joe Campbell. Colonel Fowler shows the two into the General. While speaking to the General, the General informs them about the time element, they have 36 hours before the FBI sends a task force to investigate. The General says to Brenner your going to have to decide on this one Paul, are you a soldier or a Policeman, Brenner the true soldier replies, Im a soldier, Sir(1). While leaving the Generals house Colonel Fowler tells Brenner there are three ways of doing things the right way, the wrong way, and the army way. Make sure when doing it your way you dont forget about the army way(1).
Brenner and Sunhill proceed to Elizabeth Campbells office to find out more about her. While going through her files and viewing a videotape, Robert Moore comes in to find out whats going on and why they are in Captain Campbells office.
Brenner and Sunhill then go off base and break into Elizabeths house without a civilian search warrant. At her house Brenner listens to the messages on the answering machine. The first and only message on the machine was from Robert Moore. While continuing through the house they find a false wall in the basement. In the room they discover a room filled with sex toys and videotapes of Elizabeth having sex. Brenner decides to take the videotapes and keep them hidden from the General and military, so the Generals life will not be ruined. While leaving the house Brenner gets brutally attacked and eventually knocked out and the tapes get stolen. Soon after the two of them arrive at the murder scene. Brenner spots a bag on a near distant rooftop. In the bag they find the clothes of a soldier and his identification chain.
Brenner meets up with Moore again. Brenner accuses Moore of being involved in the murder some way or another. Moore responds, Are you going to read me my rights Whereas, Brenner replies your in the army you have no rights to an attorney, you have no rights to remain silent, and if you dont cooperate I will put you in jail(1). After hearing this Moore decides that he will talk. He mentions that Wes Yardly is involved sexually with Elizabeth.
When Brenner gets back to his office, he finds out that they have discovered Moores fingerprints all over Elizabeths body. Brenner than proceeds to Moores house where he barges in without knocking or giving any sign that he was coming in. Moore than presents Brenner with his lawyer, Captain Goodsen. At this point Brenner is fed up and arrests Moore for Conduct Unbecoming an Officer, plus article 134 Disorder to Neglect, Accessory After the Fact, Conspiracy, and Making False Statements.
Sarah Sunhill makes her way back to the murder scene to study the atmosphere to try and see what the murderer was thinking. While pacing herself around the scene she gets attacked. The people that attacked her tell her to tell Brenner this is the army, you dont shit on your brothers(1).
Brenner and Sunhill get Wes Yardly and take him back to Brenners houseboat. At his house Brenner interrogates Wes, and accuses him of assaulting Sarah Sunhill. Wes Yardly wasnt being very helpful, but after getting thrown around several times he tells them about Elizabeth and how she was sleeping with everyone in the army.
Bill, back at the jail releases Moore, because he thought that he was being held for Conduct Unbecoming an Officer, but really he was being held for a murder suspect. Brenner rushes over to Moores house where they discover Moores dead body with a bullet in his head from his overwhelming guilt. When leaving the house Sunhill finds medical and psychological records from WestPoint, placed on the passenger seat in Brenners car.
They go to WestPoint, where they talk to Colonel Slessinger. The Colonel tells them about the original rape during a drill exercise and how Elizabeth almost died from the brutal rape.
Brenner then goes back to the army base where he meets up with Captain Goodsen (Moores lawyer). Captain Goodsen tells Brenner about the re-creation of the original rape. Brenner then proceeds to the Generals house. He brings up the topic of the original rape to the General. The General then tells him that they kept it secret for the good of the army If we brought it public it would ruin women in the military forever(1). After the original rape happened, the General tried to convince Elizabeth that it never happened. This was the reason Elizabeth was out there that night to show her dad what he had covered up. At this point Brenner realizes that it was Bill who killed her; he has a little flash back of all the clues that made him realize it was Bill. Brenner then rushes out to the murder scene where Bill and Sarah are. Bill admits to Brenner about the killing. He killed her because he loved her and she couldnt love him. Before Brenner can arrest Bill, Bill steps on a land mine that he planted and kills himself.
When Brenner arrives back at headquarters the General comes to talk to him to tell him that he did exemplarity job on this case. The General tells Brenner youre a soldier, and a damn fine one. Brenner replies, Im a rotten soldier(1). The General, keeping the rape a secret, killed Elizabeth in spirit, Bill just put her out of her misery. Brenner has the General court martialed under article 32, Conspiracy to Conceal a Crime. The General gets on a plane where he takes Elizabeths body to Michigan to be buried beside her mother.
General Joe Campbell was court martialed and found guilty for the involvement in the cover-up of his daughters rape.
The movie The Generals Daughter specifically deals with military law. This area of law is similar, but also has many differences. Consequences are much more severe, and the accused are offered far fewer rights. Military law consists of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and other statutory provisions for the government of persons in the Armed Forces(3).
The major issues for The Generals Daughter is betrayal. In The Generals Daughter, the reason they keep Elizabeths rape quiet is because it would ruin female careers in the military. The Generals decision was not very moral.
Morality is another issue in The Generals Daughter. Should keeping something hidden from the public be allowed? The General chose his private morals, over trying to get justice for his daughters rape. He ordered his daughter to keep the rape quiet because he felt that it was going to cause more harm, than good to females in the military. The General based his decision on Utilitarianism; he was trying to create the greatest happiness of females in the military.
This film deals with the concept of Rights and Duties. Later in the movie, while Brenner is arresting Robert Moore, we find out that the rights in the military are very limited, compared to that of civil law. Your in the army, you have no rights to an attorney, you have no rights to remain silent(1). Rights are more limited in the military then that of civil law, causing military to loose a sense of equality, and privacy to a certain degree. An example of this is when Robert Moore presents a lawyer to Paul Brenner, and Moore’s lawyer says anything you have to say to Moore, then Brenner cuts in and says Ill say it to Robert Moore(1).
The film also deals with Power. Colonel Fowler demonstrates power in this film when stating to Brenner You notify me before you arrest anyone(1). This is a sense of personal justice, it prevents Brenner from following the rules and procedures of the military.
This film dealt with a Court Martial. Court Martial is a military tribunal composed of one or more members of the Armed Forces (the number depending on the type of court), the functions of which are to decide whether a person subject to military law has committed a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and, if it finds him guilty, to adjudge punishment for the offence(4). This is evident when general Joe Campbell receives a Court Martial because he chooses to conceal Elizabeths rape. A Court Martial is a judge that is given power with evidence, to sentence the accused to
Conduct Unbecoming an officer was another term used frequently throughout the movie The Generals Daughter. Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct(5). This is evident when Brenner arrests Robert Moore for being involved in Elizabeths death. Moore’s decision to get involved with Elizabeth in the re-creation of the original rape was very unfitting, which resulted in him being arrested for Conduct Unbecoming.
Article 134 states all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offences not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offence, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court(5). Paul Brenner issued article 134 on Robert Moore because of Disorder to Neglect, Accessory after the fact, and Conspiracy. The reason these fit under article 132 is because Robert Moores actions were committed with unreasonable hostility towards the military.
Article 32 states no charge or specification may be referred to a general Court Martial for trial until a through and impartial investigation of all the matters set forth therein has been made. This investigation shall include inquiry as to the truth of the matter set forth in the charges, consideration of the form of charges, and recommendation as to the disposition which should be made of the case in the interest of justice and discipline(5). General Joe Campbell received article 32 because he decided to conceal his daughters rape from the military. The reason that he was issued under article 32 was because a thorough and fair investigation had not yet gone through.
Laws in the Military are of some similarity to that of any civilian legal system. However, there are still many differences. The guilt of any crime will result in a much harsher punishment to the accused. By becoming apart of the Military one looses a sense of their rights and is forced to go by the rights given by the military.
In the military, commanding officers tend to think that they can get away with more things that are immoral then the rest of the military. Does power give the right to give orders that are immoral? Does power allow you to give orders that are unjust?
In the military there are always people that will betray the military in someway or another. The Rules for the Military are put in place so people will follow the proper procedures. In A Few Good Men Colonel Nathan Jessip, betrayed the US marines by ordering a Code Red (when a marine falls out of line, its up to the men to get him back on track) on Marine William Santiago. This is similar to The Generals Daughter, General Joe Campbell betrayed his daughter by keeping his daughters rape quiet for the good of the army. This was a tragedy for both general Joe Campbell and cornel Nathan Jessip, because they tried to keep this hidden from the rest of the military, but it backfired in their faces. Dawson and Dalley, the two marines that were ordered a Code Red on William Santiago, had to take out their orders because as Daniel Cathy said if you dont follow orders you pack your bags (2). The two men took out a Code Red on Santiago because it was an order, which resulted in the death of Santiago. Colonel Nathan Jessip was then Court Martialed. The question now is, was the Colonels order to give a Code Red justified? In this case the Colonels order was not justified. He ordered the Code Red on William Santiago, because Santiago continually asked to be transferred and was having problems with his unit. The Colonels order of the Code Red resulted in the two marines receiving a Dishonourable Discharge.
Just because a person is put in a role of power, it doesnt allow one to give immoral or unjust orders.
I found The Generals Daughter to be a very thrilling yet sad film. I liked this movie because it dealt with the law in the military. I particularly liked how the director, Simon West, started off the movie showing the General as a very important person, by beginning the movie with his retirement party. I also like how he made us get to know Elizabeth Campbell before she was murdered. As the movie progressed, we started to learn more about the characters. Regarding the General, we were first led to believe that he was a honourable man, and all he wanted was justice for the death of his daughter. We subsequently see what the General was really like. The audience got to know the General as a true Military man, by doing what was best for the Military.
Characterization was key in making this film, it makes the audience feel for characters, such as in the death of Elizabeth Campbell. All the actors in the movie were excellent, they all performed their parts very well.
I also liked the suspense of the movie. We were always presented with suspects who could of possibly committed the murder. In the end, one of the last people that we would of suspected became the murderer, which made it a very surprising ending.
I would highly recommend this movie to anyone, it is one of those movies that gets better every time you watch it.
In the Military, the commanding officers are put in place to show a distinction of authority. But if these officers show some sort of betrayal to their authority, what should we do? If orders are given, they must be followed. So if an order is given which is inappropriate, it still must be followed. This makes it tough on generals, colonels and other military with authority. It causes them to give orders at times that can be against their sense of right, forcing sometimes others to go against what they believe in. This can cause harm for the innocent. Soldiers are forced to do things that are not right. Military power has a greater outcome than one could imagine, causing power to be an enemy, not an authority figure.